The early Church was comfortable in Jerusalem. They were one big happy family – united in loving God and one another. But then persecution broke out against them after the stoning of Stephen, and they were forced to scatter. Would the Church have ventured out on their own to spread the Gospel if it hadn’t been for this persecution? Was this possibly the Lord’s way of saying, “I’ve given you the Great Commission, now go do it!” For the most part, Believers today are just as comfortable in our square box Churches…we’re one big happy family, loving God and each other. But we rarely go outside the walls, and never think about venturing to unknown places with the Good News of Jesus Christ. We’re basically too comfy to care. But the same Great Commission applies to us… the same command to proclaim the Gospel Message to a lost and dying world pertains to us too. And it may take the same kind of persecution of the Church to get us off our backsides.
“Following the Word of the Lord…” Though sometimes, that still small voice of the Holy Spirit is almost drowned out by the incessant noise of the world. Romans 8:14 tells us that, “Those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” But following the Word of the Lord takes practice… it takes listening carefully, and obeying immediately when prompted, without hesitation…for when we stop to debate if it’s of God or not, we’ll usually not move on it…and His work stops there. By attuning our ears to that still small voice of the Holy Spirit, we are being led down the correct path of life and accomplishing God’s work for His glory.
Divine appointments. I firmly believe in, been part of, and have been truly blessed by them. This past weekend a special friend of mine was headed out on a road trip when three times she encountered friends who wished her a safe trip and prayed for her. The Lord used those divine appointments to show her just how much He loved and cared for her. Also this week a good friend of mine texted me with, ” The Lord has brought you across my mind…I’m praying for you.” This was another divine appointment that showed me God’s tremendous love and concern. So I would urge you, when you are moved by the Holy Spirit…when He brings a specific person to mind, be obedient and pray for that person. But more than that, let them know you’re praying for them. For divine appointments bless both parties involved and God’s love shines brightly in the midst.
When we allow the wise counsel of the Holy Spirit to direct and guide our decisions…our decisions will be excellent ones. When we listen to that still small voice rather than blurting out the first thing that comes to mind…our words will be timely and principled. When our plans align with God’s plans for us…we can stand firm with integrity and strength, knowing we are right where God wants us…in the center of His Will.
We’ve all been there. That deep moan of grief or pain escapes our lips…but that’s all. No words are spoken…because there are no words. Our mind is a confusing jumble of our frail mortal condition. That’s when the Holy Spirit can express for us the unutterable, inexpressible words we can’t find. And that’s when the Holy Spirit can step in and make intercession for us according to the Will of God. (Romans 8:27) The indwelling Holy Spirit is always there to pray…when we can’t.
We can’t save ourselves. Nor can we lead a totally blameless and holy life without the help of the Holy Spirit. For it reminds us in Philippians 1:6, “That He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Jesus Christ.” The Holy Spirit is ever at work, confirming in you the goals and objectives set before you…until that day the ultimate plan and purpose of your life is fulfilled in you through Christ Jesus. We can’t do this without the help of the Holy Spirit. Jesus spoke of this as He called the first disciples in Matthew 4:19, when He said to them, “Come, follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” The Greek word for “make” here means that Jesus would actually be doing the work…causing and enabling those fishermen to seek and draw out the lost around them. And we now have the Holy Spirit to do that work in us…inspiring, strengthening, and giving us confidence.
I’ve heard them called shoulder taps, or God moments. It’s when the Holy Spirit impresses on your spirit to speak or do something for someone…sometimes a complete stranger. It’s when that still small voice tells you to perform a kind act, or speak words of encouragement into a person’s life. It may not be profound…it may only take a minute of your time…but know that this interaction is divinely arranged…and requires your obedience without hesitation. These shoulder taps are a way that God manifests His love to a lonely and lost world…and what He asks of us is to just hear and obey. So, step out in faith when the Holy Spirit urges you…for you never know the impact you may have on someone’s life.
Within us is an ever raging battle…sometimes with one side winning, sometimes with the other. The battle is between our flesh and the Holy Spirit. It was fine before we were Christians…there was no need for any kind of battle…we just did what we wanted. But now that we live by the promptings of the Holy Spirit within, the conflict has started. What do you have your mind set on? It tells us in this verse that you’re either devoted to your corrupt sinful nature…or you’re mindful of the Holy Spirit. So how can we change this cycle? It says in Galatians 5:16, “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” Living by the Spirit is listening carefully, reacting immediately, and obeying promptly.
In the presence of God, Isaiah realized instantaneously his sin of impure language. In that moment of God’s presence, there’s never any vague, broad sense of sin…rather the Lord will laser focus in on some specific personal area of your life you need to change. Your attention will be directed to it, followed by conviction to take personal responsibility and confess the sin to Him…followed by you acknowledging your need for forgiveness.